Teenage sensation insists he would top the charts if his car was as good as his rival Mercedes driver
MAX VERSTAPPEN claims he would top the Formula One standings if he had the same car as Lewis Hamilton.
Red Bull’s Verstappen drove a phenomenal race last weekend in China to go from 16th to third.
It leaves the 19-year-old third in the championship, despite his Red Bull being less powerful than Hamilton’s Mercedes or Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari.
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Dutchman Verstappen said: “If I had the same car as Lewis and Seb, for sure I’d be challenging them really hard.
“I will sound really arrogant, but for sure.”
Verstappen, who hopes to close the 18-point gap on the top two in this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, is touted as a future champ.
He added: “Of course that’s the target but it is really involved with how good the car is.
“You have to believe in yourself. With the results I have had, or in the wet, or even in the dry.
“With a car that is not as good, to be that close or really fight for it, I’m 100 per cent if I had the same car, I could do it.”
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Meanwhile, former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone says he would have blocked Fernando Alonso competing in the Indianapolis 500.
The McLaren ace, 35, will miss next month’s Monaco GP to drive in the historic American race.
Jenson Button will take his place for the race but Ecclestone would have vetoed the move.
He said: “I think it’s probably good for Alonso but if I could have persuaded McLaren not to go I would have done it.
“I would have said: ‘Wait until your contract finishes and then do what you like — but you are in the middle of Formula One.’ ”
Button, 37, stepped down into a reserve slot last year.
He said: “I’m thrilled to be making a one-off return at my adopted home grand prix.
“I’ve won it before but I realise we won’t have a realistic chance of repeating my 2009 victory.”